Monday, January 6, 2014

Still Smilin' ... That's What it's All About

One of the greatest things about our 2013 Christmas festivities was the lack of travel.  For the first time in my entire life, I didn't spend Christmas in my parents' house.  I'm guessing most people experience this milestone well before their 36th year, but heading "home" has always just worked out for us.  This year, however, we made a conscious effort to stay put.  I wish I could count the number of people I talked to who described their holiday break as "crazy" or "busy" or "too fast" or "frazzled"-- with the quick uneasy chuckle and the disclaimer of "that's what it's all about though!" tacked on the end like a last minute gift bag.

In 2012, our Christmas felt crazy and busy and fast and frazzled... and while we enjoyed being with everyone, in the end we had a cranky toddler and two exhausted (and maybe a little grumpy?) parents.  And a pretty neglected dog.  Is that really what it's all about?  Shouldn't Christmas be about hunkering down and just..... being? So this year, Mase & I decided we wanted to have as relaxing of holiday as possible-- with no traveling.  We want to create new Spahnville traditions and have Charlie's memories be filled of holidays at our home.  (That's not to say we won't travel again in the future.) Thankfully, my parents were supportive of this decision and chose to visit our house for a few days.  I know they love their own Christmas traditions, but realize that traditions change as their children begin their own.  (Sister and her family were planning on coming, but Miss N was sick so they stayed put as well.)

As you may have seen in the photo post, we had a lovely time.  However, we still needed to celebrate with M's side of the family in Dubuque.  After staying home for a week, the short jaunt over to Eastern Iowa was no problem, and we had another lovely celebration.

Is anyone looking?  (I love how his one cheek looks like a little chipmunk)

Slot cars!

Entertaining himself for a little while. 

Scrumptious!  (Grandma got C to eat all his ham!  How? By dipping in honey, of course.
Although C did say, "Well, it still tastes like meat." 

Spahn selfie.  

Just what we need!  A shoot-a-fly-with-salt gun.  Thanks Jeff.  

Testing out the frosting....

The finished product! 

"Hey kids, we'll give you candy if you try to act normal!" 

Silly Face.  Of course. 

Aunt Sherry made a "Charlie Minion" puzzle! 

She took to knitting right away.  Be still my heart! 

My little protégé 

C's cousins are a little older on that side of the family (especially compared to Miss N) and they were busier with big kid stuff-- like Minecraft and ipads.  And more Minecraft.  So there were a few times when his sweet voice would call out, "Can someone please play with me?" as he wandered through the house.  But for the most part, they were very inclusive of him and it made me smile to see him having so much fun with his cousins.

We had a gift exchange after a wonderful meal and then the kids (and Grandma) headed down to watch a movie.  As I sat upstairs with the other grownups and knitted, I thought "this is what it's all about".  The kids were so happy spending time together.  They were smiling and shouting and chasing and tattling and laughing.  They posed for pictures and snuck gumdrops from the gingerbread houses.  At the end of the night, they changed into jammies and snuggled into beds with each other, giggling way past their bedtimes.  And while we grownups smiled and rolled our eyes at them, something stirred deep within me--knowing that this is definitely what it's all about.     

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